Monthly Archives: September 2010

Stopping in the name of love

Picture from here

On the second day of Sukkos, I stopped saying Kaddish for my father a”h.  It was odd.  That’s really the only way to describe it.  After months of saying Kaddish after Kaddish after Kaddish, it just stopped.  As I sat in shul between mincha and maariv I couldn’t help but think about the passage in Halachic Man, when the Rav describes his father view about the sunset at Ni’elah on Yom Kippur and the halachic change that takes place.  I was moving from being one who is “saying Kaddish” to one who is listening to someone else say Kaddish.

It is a noticable phase of aveilus, sort of that the end of this year is almost over.  Today I davened in a Chol Hamoed minyan organized by the day school that two out of three of our uber-kids attend and there was no one in the minyan saying Kaddish.  I felt a little sad that no one got the opportunity to answer Amen to another’s Kaddish.

Another interesting aveilus-related thing is that I am not going around in a circle during Hoshanos.  As an avel, I am to stay away from any outward simcha, such as the hakafos that we do during Hoshanos.  Missing all of the awesome Simchas Bais HaShoeva events around Chicago is also pretty bunk.  Simchas Torah is also something that I’ve sort of been dreading for the past number of months, since I cannot dance.  I can walk around once per hakafah, but that’s it.  I enjoy dancing, especially with my 5th grade son, but this year I will mostly be a spectator.  This will allow me to learn a bit more than usual (a good thing), but it’s bitter-sweet.  Following Halacha and the answer that I received when I asked a shilah regarding this topic is a challenge.  Not because I am looking to question “authority”, but I know how much of an effect dancing can have on my own body and I appreciate being able to do something that is so physical l’shem mitzvah.

I suppose that I am fortunate to be able to consicously know that I’m exercising my own bechira (free will) by following Halacha.  That, in and of itself, is pretty cool.

R Moshe Weinberger on how to save this generation

Picture available for purchase here

Rav Moshe Weinberger’s Shabbos Shuva drasha (given after Shabbos) “The Mystery Of Shabbos And Yom Kippur – Whispers Of Existence” (available here for purchase/downloading) was great.  I purchased it last Sunday after Rosh HaShana and have listened to it about 8 times.  What follows is my own transcription of two minutes of drasha, starting at the last 12 minutes.  The two minutes that I’m typing up really show exactly what we need to do to keep Yiddishkeit alive.  I take all responsibility for any mistakes in my transcription and hope that you will purchase the actual mp3.  It’s good to listen to any time of the year and the message is of the upmost importance as we enter Zman Simchasanu and spend three days not tethered to email and cell phones.

The only thing that will save this generation, the secret to saving our generation is not how we can pull out more plugs from more machines. They’re always ahead of us. They always have other machines. And just when you though you could control what the kid is sending with text messages, someone told me last year that the kid can go to the store and get a disposable cell phone, that nobody even knows about. There’s no bill that is ever is ever sent to the house. There’s always some other way. When a person is in this world, there’s always a way.

So they can have a thousand conferences and meetings about “How can you take away the pleasures of the children of this generation?” And if we can take away all their pleasures and make new yeshivas where there’s no sports, no smiling, “Smiling is not allowed”. No laughing, no happiness, no recess. Anybody that is caught wearing or with a smile in the “Kingdom of Sadness” will be banished from the school forever. Which also means that all of the sisters and brothers will never get shiduchim. They think of new way of how to save this generation. There’s only on way. The only way to save this generation, and it’s our responsibility, is to show them that Yiddishkeit is so geschmack, to lift them up to a place that is called “Al Cheit”- higher than that stuff.

Rabbi Yakov Horowitz’s YK message highlights the Mussar Movement

Rabbi Yakov Horowitz put out a message to day on his website, a message that he told over to his students that they should, “take time over Yom Kippur to reflect on what I see as the two overarching themes of the Mussar Movement – 1) to look inward with a critical eye in order to identify character flaws that need to be improved, and 2) to treat others with humility, kindness and courtesy at all times.”

The entire message can be read here.

Putting it together

I’ve been thinking today. Thinking about this execllent guest post from R Motty Frankel on R Harry Maryles’ blog and about having a little passion about Yiddishkeit.

Like most of us, I feel that as it’s gets closer to Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, I find that I have a bit more clarity about thinks. I’m sure that saying Selichos has something to do with this. As it gets down to the wire, thing become pretty clear. I need to work on understanding the responsibility and privilege of true Malchiyus and giving over a sense of Menchas HaNefesh from within.

Are these the last piece of the puzzle? Probably not. When it some to my own avodah, I know that my goals are constantly shifting. I have never been one to attempt to be out of step with the rest of the crowd, nor have I ever consciously pulled a Rober Frost and b’davka taken “the road less travelled by”. I am simply who I am. A Jew trying to push himself to be his best. I know that when I think that things seem to be going well, that puzzle piece, more often than not, will not exactly fit. So, like a fallen Jenga set, I try again. The thing is, even if you think that you’ve figured it all it, there’s that posibilty that your completed puzzle (like the one above) is blank.

Therefore, I daven and ask the King of the World that we should all have a year of inspiration, success in all we do, simcha for each member of our family, and a peek into what our potential is within each of our communities. I’d write more, but I have to drawn a picture on my completed blank puzzle.